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Shout Factory presents
The Film Crew: The Giant of Marathon (2007)

"Yes sir, this is what I do it for: to be lifted and caressed by other bediapered men."
- Mike Nelson

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: October 30, 2007

Stars: Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett
Other Stars: Steve Reeves, Mylène Demongeot, Sergio Fantoni, Daniela Rocca, Philippe Hersent, Alberto Lupo, Daniele Vargas, Miranda Campa, Ivo Garrani, Sergio Ciani, Gérard Herter
Director: Jacques Tourneur, Mario Bava

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (occasional mature humor)
Run Time: 01h:35m:18s
Release Date: October 09, 2007
UPC: 826663103786
Genre: historical adventure

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ A-C+B- B-

DVD Review

The Giant Of Marathon is the fourth—and for the time being final—entry from Shout Factory featuring former Mystery Science Theater 3000-er's Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy known now as The Film Crew, which is basically just another excuse for them to provide a mocking full-length commentary on yet another really bad movie. It's something they do well, melding obscure references and comic barbs as they delve deep into the men-in-diapers undertones of a 1959 Steve Reeves sand-and-sandals title.

Given the sloppy nature of the Italian-made The Giant Of Marathon (La Battaglia di Maratona), it's kind of interesting that it comes from a pair of well-respected horror directors—Jacques Tourneur (Cat People) and an uncredited Mario Bava (Black Sunday). Just goes to show that even those guys could have a bad day, as the ridiculously buff Steve Reeves is Phillipides, a somewhat dopey but muscular mope who ends up almost single-handidly saving the day from an invading Persian army, and vying for the hand of the pouty hotness of the stunning Mylène Demongeot, here wreaking understandable hormonal havoc as the sultry Andromeda. There's excessive macho posturing (and more than a wee bit of homoeroticism), spear throwing, dinner wrestling and swimming with big poles, as Reeves battles manly traitors, a surging mass of Persian soldiers and the crazy eyebrows of temptress Daniela Rocca.

As a standalone, this is a pretty crummy film (and the print used is even worse), so the available setups for The Film Crew comments seem like a constant here, and the hosts do well to fire off a continual volley of solidly askew comic observations. The best stuff comes during the film's climactic battle scene, as the foam rocks go flying and horses are tripped ("no horses weren't harmed in the making of this film"), and as the sexy Mylène Demongeot is strapped to the bow of a Persian ship it's time for disinterested extras and horribly acted death scenes, augmented by a number of terrific one-liners from Nelson, Corbett and Murphy.

Of the four films so far in The Film Crew series (others include Wild Women Of Wongo, Hollywood After Dark, and Killers From Space), The Giant Of Marathon supplied some of the biggest laughs, as the mix of frequent "underpant exposure" and the man-on-man manliness provided some great material for consistently high-caliber riffing throughout. I base that personal observation on how many times I had to rewind to watch something over again but I was laughing too hard to get what came next. And that happened quite often during this one.

In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry's Dr. Frank-N-Furter croons about longing to take in an old Steve Reeves movie, but I'd bet that even that corseted sweet transvestite would have had a problem enduring the diapered majesty of The Giant Of Marathon. The Film Crew guys, however, make it easy and fun to digest, so here's hoping there's another set of titles coming soon. This is just too damn funny.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The feature film is presented in nonanamorphic widescreen, and the print used is just rotten. Splices, nicks, dirt, color fades. blurry edges—you name it, it's here. But that's always been part of the quirky MST3K/Film Crew charm for mocking films like this, so it's not that major of an issue, unless of course you're picking this up to solely revel in the wonder of ancient Persia, which I then suspect you will be sorely disappointed.

The three host segments look good, and seem to carry brighter colors than some of the other titles in the series.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Major audio glitches with the feature, including frequent bouts of hard-to-understand dialogue and even a couple of moments of complete silence (which is naturally made fun of by The Film Crew guys). The comments from Nelson, Corbett and Murphy, however, are clear at all times, with a pleasing, full-bodied timbre.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Zach Galifiniakis: Live At The Purple Onion
1 TV Spots/Teasers
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: clear plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Length-wise, this final entry in the current batch of Film crew titles has the longest runtime for any of the supplements so far. An Apology From Mike Nelson (02m:53s) has the host offering his apologies for insulting ancient Persians, only to shift the blame to the "enormous shortcomings" of the Italians and then fishy-smelling Norwegians. Commentary From Walter S. Ferguson (07m:30s) is once again Nelson, in character here as a retired electrician who claims to have been an extra in the film. He dishes up commentary on a handful of scenes

As an added plus, there's a postcard-sized window clingy of Nelson, Murphy and Corbett included, as well.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

A lot of great laughs from The Film Crew as they mock an underpants-heavy Steve Reeves sand-and-sandals title from 1959. Who cares if the print used looks like a 10th generation VHS dub of a dub? The guys are really on their game here, making this one of the better of the four films so far in the series.

Highly recommended.


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